Tag Archives: trauma toracico

Open Chest Wounds. The Prehospital Management

3 Ago

Is the flutter valve beneficial? Is the chest seal itself beneficial? Or, does it convert a sucking chest wound into a life-threatening tension pneumothorax? “Why do we treat a non-lethal condition (open pneumothorax) with an intervention that may result in a lethal condition (tension pneumothorax)?” If the size of the chest seal defect is larger than the diameter of the trachea, then air will preferentially move through the chest defect which can be fatal. Many of the chest seals are being placed on small defects which could lead to a tension pneumothorax.

It is unknown whether modifying the current practice of treating an open pneumothorax with an occlusive chest dressing might cause some of these injuries to then result in fatalities.

Saving Lives on the Battlefield
A Joint Trauma System Review of Pre-Hospital Trauma Care in Combined Joint Operating Area – Afghanistan (CJOA-A)
FINAL REPORT
30 January 2013
U.S. Central Command Pre-Hospital Trauma Care Assessment Team

The current guidelines indicates commercial chest seals both vent or non vent as a valid option to treat open chest wounds. In any case if a commercial chest seal is not available the 3 sided closed dressing is no longer recommended and a total occlusive medication is the current indication.

Commercial chest seal VS improvised 3 sided chest dressing

A chest dressing closed on 3 sides was the traditional option of treatment. They are often difficult to adhere, ineffective and difficult to improvise in time-critical scenarios. New and recent guidelines recommended an occlusive medication with strict surveillance and in case of signs of tension pneumothorax the dressing must be removed. If the patients does not improve after removing the seal open thoracostomy is indicated.

There is no clear evidence to suggest that the use of one-way chest seals would reduce the incidence of respiratory complications in patients with penetrating chest wounds. However, these seals may be easier to use and should be considered as part of the medical kit for out-of-hospital settings.

BET 3: In a penetrating chest wound is a three-sided dressing or a one-way chest seal better at preventing respiratory complications?

BET 3: In a penetrating chest wound is a three-sided dressing or a one-way chest seal better at preventing respiratory complications?

Major trauma: assessment and initial management. 1.3 Management of chest trauma in pre‑hospital settings

Vent vs Non Vent Chest Seal

A vent commercial chest seal is the first line option in prehospital setting.

Both vented and unvented CSs provided immediate improvements in breathing and blood oxygenation in our model of penetrating thoracic trauma. However, in the presence of ongoing intrapleural air accumulation, the unvented CS led to tension PTx, hypoxemia, and possible respiratory arrest, while the vented CS prevented these outcomes.

Vented versus unvented chest seals for treatment of pneumothorax and prevention of tension pneumothorax in a swine model

Vented versus unvented chest seals for treatment of pneumothorax and prevention of tension pneumothorax in a swine model

Treatment of Thoracic Trauma: Lessons From the Battlefield Adapted to All Austere Environments

In case vent chest seal is not available use non vent chest seal and if the patients develops hypotension, hypoxia, respiratory distress, remove the seal or performa an open thoracostomy.

So what to do?

First get an airway and put the lung on positive pressure ventilation (Volume or Pressure Targeted Ventilation) :

Positive pressure in the chest during the entire respiratory cycle and avoiding negative pressure during inspiration decreases the risk of tension pneumothorax

If you have the patient on a spinal board with a cervical collar the larynx is narrowed and when the patient is in spontaneous breathing the air preferentially enters from the chest wound. Placing an OT and positive pressure ventilation avoids this mechanism and prevents tension in the thorax.

Positive pressure ventilation re-inflates the collapsed lung and improve oxygenation (PEEP) and ventilation (Minute Ventilation).

Second close the wound with

Vent chest seal as first option

Non vent chest seal if vent is not available

Non commercial chest dressing closed on 3 sides is your last resort

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